The Middle Way

Zen Spot #195 — Mindfulness, meditation and a perfect gold circle June 19, 2018 00:00

Altar

A perfect gold circle hangs on the back wall of the altar in a nearby Buddhist temple. Measuring about six feet in diameter, the actual ring is approximately 18 inches wide. At once, it is simple, sublime and brilliant. Made of painted wood perhaps, it is as radiant as stained glass on the sunniest of days.

In contrast to other Philadelphia temples, very little ornament is enshrined throughout the building. Housed in what appears to be a former Christian church, little has been done to convert the holy plainness of the entirety of the sanctuary, making the circle all the more powerful as an ornament and a symbol.

Observing 

One must want to see beyond the materials and finish to experience the transcendent. This gold circle — and every other gold circle — is no exception. That said, one must only take a step or two forward, into the world of the visceral open mind, to know that there is something more to life than just passing time, if only to understand that, at the instant one decides to take the step, time stands still, unmistakably.

A circle is more than a circle.

Leaf and paint

In April of 2013, I began to draw Dharma Wheels. Attracted to the ornament and bright colors, I enjoyed the playfulness and geometry. I love its symmetry, versatility and meaning. It can be both a highly personal spiritual icon and a universally accessible image enjoyable for its simplicity, shape, color, materials, finish and presence. It offers endless visceral possibilities that can connect with any viewer. One need not be a Buddhist to appreciate the Dharma Wheel. It helps, however, to have an open searching heart.

Plain and simple

Having created hundreds of Dharma Wheel drawings, some good and some bad, the prospect of simplifying my work, especially in the context of starting to actually build the wheels, I've become attracted to making simple gold circles of all sizes, materials and textures, with the knowledge that, no matter what, each will be perfect. 

Like inventing the perfect word, instead of finding an existing word to complete a poem, each circle will bring a story into focus. Whatever is inside a viewer will be coaxed forth — good, bad, sad, happy — and, hopefully, it will be transcendental. I can’t wait to begin building them. 

I am expecting nothingness.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?